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Haiku Stairs hike victim is identified as Don Tiki singer Fritz Hasenpusch

By Gary T. Kubota

LAST UPDATED: 04:32 a.m. HST, Aug 07, 2012

The city has warning signs and a security guard to prevent people from hiking the popular but forbidden Haiku Stairs, known as the  “Stairway To Heaven,” on Windward Oahu.

But the security measures apparently haven’t stopped people from using it, including Don Tiki show singer and comedian Fritz Hasenpusch, who died while on a hike Sunday.

Hasenpusch, 62, a resident of Salem, Ore., who was on Oahu to help with singing and choreography for two upcoming shows, was climbing the steps with cast member Sherry Shaoling and had nearly reached the first landing early Sunday morning when they stopped to rest.

“He just kind of collapsed,” said his friend Kit Ebersbach, who heard about the death from the Hasenpusch family.

The Honolulu Medical Examiner’s office said Monday the death was due to a heart attack.

Ebersbach, the musical director and a partner in Don Tiki, a group that specializes in South Seas exotica, said Hasenpusch had just completed a great week of rehearsals.

“His family thinks if he had to die, it was really a great way to go,” Ebersbach said. “He wasn’t in any prolonged pain, and he was in a beautiful place.”

The group had begun the hike before sunrise to avoid being blocked by a security guard who came on duty later in the day, he said.

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olos73 wrote:
Bad decisions resulted in a fatal situation. My ALOHA to the family, but, people need to THINK before breaking rules/laws. Maybe if the others in the group are charged with trespassing, others will not sneak in and climb the stairs. It wasn't worth it.
on August 6,2012 | 06:12PM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
People have heart attacks every day. He could have just as easily had that one at home.
on August 6,2012 | 06:40PM
olos73 wrote:
He should've been at home, not on the stairs.
on August 7,2012 | 11:27AM
what wrote:
My condolences to the family, but let's not jump to incorrect conclusions. His death was not a direct consequence of breaking any trespassing rules. As far as we know, the factors leading to his death could have occurred on anylegal strenuous hike or during any strenuous activity.
on August 6,2012 | 06:46PM
slc3755 wrote:
"Bad decisions resulted in a fatal situation and I hope his friends get busted for trespassing" and oh yea, by the way, A BIG ALOHA TO THE FAMILY. Olos73, that was quite touching and heartfelt, now go crawl back in your hole.
on August 6,2012 | 09:31PM
olos73 wrote:
Charge all the others for trespassing. They're not above the law. @slc3755, I'm enjoying my early retirement in my "hole." Paid it off years ago, just collecting my retirement checks every month. Too young to collect my Social Security at 62, so still waiting for that. No bills, all cars paid off, got all the time to watch Olympics all day and night. If I got caught trespassing, I'm willing to pay the fine. You sound like YOU break rules and laws all the time and expect to get away with it. You still paying for your "hole?" Awww, too bad. Oh yeah, my Aloha still goes to the ohana.
on August 7,2012 | 11:35AM
Cubsfan wrote:
He wanted to see the sunrise up high and he got his wish.
on August 6,2012 | 11:26PM
SteveToo wrote:
Maybe the City and the State and OHA or what ever Hawaiian group owns the old navy base will get off their FAT A --- and get together to work out an access route that will make everyone happy. I've done the stairs and when in the navy I've ridden up in the old cable car. It's a fabulous resource that should not be restricted. Lets charge a parking and hiking fee and get it open.
on August 6,2012 | 06:32PM
soundofreason wrote:
Great idea but all our "extra" money is going for the choo choo.
on August 6,2012 | 07:27PM
Eradication wrote:
What's this got to do with this gentleman dying of a heart attack? Just shut up and go back to sleep. Geez, what's wrong with people?
on August 6,2012 | 07:39PM
Manapua_Man wrote:
If its one's time... I can think of no better exit than on the Haiku "Stairway to Heaven".
on August 6,2012 | 07:09PM
Classic_59Chevy wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on August 6,2012 | 08:08PM
SteveToo wrote:
That's dumb. Besides we all know the "real" Classic Chevy is the '57.
on August 6,2012 | 10:10PM
kailuabred wrote:
According to your logic, if you speed (even a little bit) and end up dieing, you deserve it. You may want to stop commenting, as you embarrass yourself.
on August 7,2012 | 03:36AM
Songoboy wrote:
Rest in peace "The Fritz", KPOI dj and lead singer of Shnazz...one of My favorite Hawaii rock group! Mahalo!
on August 7,2012 | 05:32AM
juke wrote:
on August 7,2012 | 06:20AM
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